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Why We Focus on Education

We have all heard the old adage; “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Unfortunately most of us have not only heard that expression but we have experienced it first hand far too often. With the theme of this issue of Concrete Facts being education, it only seemed appropriate to share with you a few ideas about dealing with the subject.

Like me, you probably receive a daily barrage of mailings that offer you incredible opportunities to attend seminars and lectures professing to make you a better leader or a better professional and all the while making you a larger profit. All you have to do is devote a lot of time that you don’t have and a huge fee that you don’t want to spend and you can get “filled up” with generic and usually trite information that is interesting but usually very difficult to employ once you get “back to the ranch”. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that this approach can be beneficial at times and may help some, but isn’t your real goal to have people in your office and in the fi eld know the most about what they are doing allowing them to do their job better than anyone else?

As foundation contractors, I believe one of our most common areas of weakness is filling the educational gap between the design and construction teams. It has always proven to be a logistical challenge to spend the necessary time and money to properly educate the fi eld crews. Every foundation contractor has crews who can form, place, and finish concrete. I wonder how many of these contractors could say that all of their laborers have a formal and effective working knowledge of concrete basics, admixtures, reinforcement, consolidation, mix designs, etc. So, what are ways you can resolve this?

In our area, we have contracted the services of a concrete consulting firm to provide these types of educational services for our company. We feel that educating our personnel is an area where we can develop a competitive edge in our market. After all, if we cannot find creative ways to separate ourselves from our competition, then the only way our customers can evaluate us is by our price.

It’s not easy for a foundation contractor to find and retain suitable educators. Fortunately, the CFA has always offered these types of educational opportunities. Over the years your association has sponsored or developed construction and management seminars in many forms. This has been a huge help to the overall membership. CFA Staff has noted in recent years, however, a slow but steady decline in the interest and participation with these programs. I would like to encourage each member to do an assessment of your individual company and determine how much you would benefit from increasing the education of your employees. By tapping into the knowledge, resources, and experience the CFA has to offer, there is no reason why your people can’t be doing their job better than anyone else while your company begins to stand above your competition.

Brad Schrock, CFA President, Custom Concrete Company Inc.
bschrock@customconcrete.com

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us